[September 6, 2018] A few years ago I met a young lady working in the IT field and who was unhappy but getting paid very well. She worked from home, got regular raises, but told me she didn’t want to be a “team leader” because she was sick a bunch. Disappointed, she quit and went to work elsewhere. A sick leader cannot be as effective as one who is healthy and always ready.
Being there helps make a leader. That is why a leader’s health is so fundamentally important that it is often overlooked. Don’t take care of your body and people notice. Even if you are physically present, others judge you on your appearance and demeanor. A sick person simply cannot keep up with those demands of leadership.
Two years ago as the days of the U.S. presidential campaign were coming to a close and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was predicted to win in a landslide, Billionaire Donald Trump toured flooded areas in the state of Louisiana. The media called this a “stunt” and a “sideshow” to minimize what he had done. People who lived there did take notice.
Leaders make themselves known to others, give them hope, and show that they are with the people to care for them if needed. This is what presidential hopeful Donald Trump did at the time despite sophomoric talk from the media and President Barack Obama over Trump’s visit. After nearly two years in office, now President Trump is hard to keep up with. He could never do what he does if he was sick or absent from the job.
Leaders are prone to giving less time to their health (less exercise, poor dietary habits, etc.) so they can devote more time to their jobs and family. This is the wrong thing to do. All military leaders are reminded that it is of utmost importance they continue to exercise, eat right, and get enough rest; else they will become physically or mentally sick. I’ve seen it happen over and over. Lesson learned! Don’t be a sick leader.
Military history is full of examples when senior leaders were sick and battles were lost. A great leader is one who is physically present, mentally focused, and prepared. Sick leaders cannot do this.